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Revamped Terracan
  |  First Published: December 2004



I reviewed Hyundai’s Terracan a few years ago for QFM and was impressed with the ride and features of this comfortable mid-sized off-roader. There was plenty of interior room, an excellent ride, good performance from the engine, and it was good value for money. And, judging by the number of Terracans seen on our roads today, other Queenslanders feel the same way.

Like other car makers, the designers at Hyundai doesn’t just sit on their hands and hope for sales to remain high on their current models. Refinements are always on the agenda, and Hyundai’s new face-lifted and enhanced petrol Terracan (which will soon to be joined by a diesel model) is just that bit better than its predecessor.

FEATURES

First of all, there’s a new range of colours, new design 16” alloy wheels, reworked head lamp housings, and a newly designed black mesh grille. On the creature comfort side of things there’s a CD with MP3 player, but the biggest improvement is the new Anti Skid Braking system (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD).

The Terracan is an easy car to enjoy. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that some makers employ, but there is still a fair measure of equipment to make it a pleasure to drive.

Inside the car, however, is where we see some of the great features that come standard and which not all manufacturers provide.

Hyundai is strong on what it refers to as ‘convenience and comfort features.’ Here we see an extensive list, including roof racks, air-conditioning with pollen filter, rear heating ducts, engine immobiliser, CD player and radio with six speakers, power windows, central locking, keyless entry, height tilt and lumbar support adjustments for the driver’s seat, 60/40 split folding mid seats, power outlets front and rear for phone chargers or a fridge, remote fuel filler, driver’s foot rest, four cup holders, and more.

And one feature we should certainly not overlook is the cruise control. If only all modern cars were fitted with these!

TEST DRIVE

The test vehicle was a four-speed auto powered by a 3.5-litre dual cam 24-valve multi-point fuel-injected V6 engine, developing 145kW of power and 302Nm of torque.

The V6 engine was whisper quiet, very willing to perform, and an ideal match of power for the 2027kg seven-seater wagon. The gear changes were so smooth as to be almost undetectable in normal driving. Pushing the Terracan hard produced some interesting engine notes plus real response from the engine, but the gear changes were still almost undetectable, thanks to the four-speed gearbox’s slick operation.

The Terracan drives much like a large sedan in city traffic. There is negligible body roll, good visibility, all controls are within easy reach and gauges in plain sight, and overall comfort levels are high. Brakes, headlights and other vital equipment is certainly up to the best standards.

I found the seating to be comfortable during a long stint at the wheel, although larger people might find the front seats a tad small. The power steering on the test vehicle, which had done quite a few kilometres, was factory tight with no play. I also liked the 3.8 turns from lock to lock. Personally, however, I found the steering wheel just a little off centre although I became accustomed to the sensation after a while.

The test car’s suspension was certainly up to scratch, with no rattles, shakes or bumps filtering through from the underbody. The car cruised easily and effortlessly at the speed limit when running down the M1 to the Gold Coast.

Off road, the Terracan reveals that it’s certainly a ‘proper’ 4WD. It has plenty of ground clearance, good approach and departure angles, and the all-important second (and third) set of gears.

It also has very good manners. Passengers are isolated from the influence of bumps and potholes with the wagon’s double wishbone front and five-link coil suspension set-up, with gas-filled shocks all round. The limited slip diff aids in traction control, especially on slippery surfaces. Changes from 2WD to 4WD (high or low range) can be made at the flick of a switch at speeds up to 80km/h.

In a nutshell, Terracan gives you a lot for your money, given that each vehicle comes with a five-year 130,000km factory warranty. There are plenty of features to provide as much comfort as possible and the V6 was not particularly thirsty, turning in figures of around 11.5 to 12 litres per 100km. The Terracan’s styling is getting on a little these days, but it still remains a quite nice looking vehicle when you have a second glance at some of the opposition’s profiles.

Overall, the big positives are the amount of rear seat room for passengers, the large load space for gear when heading bush or up the beach, and the excellent ride over most conditions.

Prices for the Hyundai Terracan start at $________ (manual). Price excludes on-road costs.

[CAPTIONS]

1) The Hyundai Terracan is a comfortable seven-seater with a host of useful features.

2) There is plenty of luggage space in the Terracan’s rear cargo area.

3) A look at the Terracan’s centre console. Note the 4WD switch and power outlet.

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